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I'd be be grateful for information about the external fittings associated with coach oil lighting.

 

My photo is of the roof of a GWR 6-wheel Family Saloon (dia.G13) and shows two different sizes of lamp and various other fittings.  My questions are - what are the 'lids' attached by chain to the ventilator hoods and how are they used?, and what is the other smaller fitting on top of the clerestory?

 

post-19820-0-20446000-1397389757.jpg

Mike

 

 

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The flat lids are, I believe, filler caps for the lamp oil tanks. I thought at first that the narrow pipe might be for a stove, but is is over the toilet compartment so I wonder if it is a water filler?

 

Nick

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That was quick, Nick!  Many thanks. 

 

Yes, the small fitting is above the toilet compartment, so thank you for your suggestion. 

 

I think I read somewhere that the flat lids were fillers but I wonder how they were connected up? It seems like a recipe for dripping oil into the compartments!

 

Mike

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Hi,

 

I always understood that the 'lids' were there to put over the holes when the lamps were taken out for filling and trimming the wicks.

 

Ian.

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Hi,

 

I always understood that the 'lids' were there to put over the holes when the lamps were taken out for filling and trimming the wicks.

 

Ian.

That would explain why the lid for the larger lamp looks to be bigger but then why the chain linking them to the ventilator hoods?

 

Mike

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Without knowledge of the stock concerned, wouldn't the chain be there simply to retain the lid, to ensure that there was always one there whenever the lamp was removed ?

 

Dennis

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Without knowledge of the stock concerned, wouldn't the chain be there simply to retain the lid, to ensure that there was always one there whenever the lamp was removed ?

 

Dennis

 

But in that case, it would seem sensible to attach the lid to a hook on the carriage roof, rather than to the bit that was to be removed for maintenance!

 

Edited by MikeOxon

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Hi Mike,

 

Thinking about this, I reckon Ian is right. I've seen them referred to as filler caps in model part lists, but the idea of a separate tank doesn't seem very plausible. Most oil lamps have an integral reservoir below the wick and a separate one would be rather complex and make lamp removal for wick trimming quite difficult. The lamp would be removed as a whole for refilling and trimming. The large cylindrical cover on the roof is a fixture with hinged top providing access to the lamp and a vent for fumes, it isn't removed as part of the lamp. The small cover could be placed over the hole in the roof inside this cover.

 

Nick 

Edited by buffalo

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Hi Mike,

 

........The small cover could be placed over the hole in the roof inside this cover.

 

Nick 

You are right that it was in some parts list that I saw them referred to as filler caps but, when I started to think about it, it didn't seem to make sense!

 

It's still hard to see why a cap is needed when the lamp is taken out, as the hinged lid presumably provides as much weather protection when the lamp is taken out as when it is in place.  I don't feel that we have quite got the whole story, yet!

 

I also wonder how the caps are secured on the roof?  - they can't just rattle around on the  end of their chain!  Are they always to the same side of the lamp housing.  Some of my coaches have two tows of lamps on each side of the clerestory, so should they be 'handed' on opposite sides of the coach or all the same way?

 

I fear I'm becoming a 'rivet counter' over this but, since I have the parts to fit, it would be nice to drill the holes in the right places, if I can

 

Isn't it strange how something that must have been commonplace just over a century ago now causes a puzzle :)

 

Mike

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Hi,

 

Would the lid not  plug the hole in the roof  and stop draughts and rain getting into the compartment? The lamp cover with the holes shields the lamp chimney and stops the flame flickering too much.

I imagine it would be quite a performance filling, trimming, lighting and replacing lamps at the beginning of a journey. Probably a two man job with one on the platform and one on the roof.  Was there a special lamp barrow? Most stations had lamp rooms for maintenance of signal and platform lamps but carriages would only need lamps attended to at star and end of journeys.  Would that be done in a station or at carriage stabling sidings? 

See how many more questions a simple!! query raises.

My coaches are gas lit.

 

Happy modelling research,

 

Ian.

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......................

See how many more questions a simple!! query raises.

Yes, and on a subject that was commonplace not that long ago. It seems that we cannot even be sure what colour GWR wagons were in the 19th century, so what hope is there over details of oil lamps?

 

Surely there must be some published instructions for maintenance of coach lamps somewhere?

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After a bit more research, I'm now veering back to Buffalo's original suggestion that the 'lid' was an oil filler cap. EDIT (18/4) but since this post have gone back to the 'plug' theory - see following posts.

 

I came across the following illustration in an 1897 Sear's Catalogue of an oil lamp, described as a 'Student's Lamp'

 

post-19820-0-55298000-1397599435.jpg

The oil reservoir is alongside the lamp fitting, with its filler cap roughly level with the base of the chimney.  Thus, if the chimney were under the perforated cover on a coach roof, the oil filler would be close alongside at roof level!

 

I also looked closely at a photo of a damaged GWR coach (possibly taken after the Norton Fitzwarren accident).  It's difficult to make out very much but it does look as though there is something below the roof, where the filler cap is placed.  Also, the cap has not been displaced by the accident, which suggests a very rigid fixing, probably through the roof structure.

 

post-19820-0-94170800-1397599726.jpg

I feel that I understand the system well enough now, to complete my model coaches on this basis.

 

Miike

Edited by MikeOxon

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On GNSR coaches the oil lamps were held in stations and  put onto coaches just before nightfall.  Up to then the oil lamp holes had a bung in them.  When the lamps were fitted (by staff climbing onto the roof and placing the lamps in) the bungs were fitted into bung holders on the roof.  Each lamp hole had such a bung holder near it with the bung chained to it.

post-3983-0-30690300-1397641724_thumb.jpg

post-3983-0-13664400-1397641821_thumb.jpg

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On GNSR coaches the oil lamps were held in stations and  put onto coaches just before nightfall.  Up to then the oil lamp holes had a bung in them.  When the lamps were fitted (by staff climbing onto the roof and placing the lamps in) the bungs were fitted into bung holders on the roof.  Each lamp hole had such a bung holder near it with the bung chained to it.

Looks like it's 'Theory 2' again.

 

I shall just fit the external parts on my roofs and hope to be sure, one day, exactly what they are :)

 

Mike

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I don't know if it helps, but I put a photo of the oil lamps on an LB&SCR first at the Bluebell in another thread:

 

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/60547-coach-lighting-but-not-how-to-light-up-my-coaches/&do=findComment&comment=765273

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

Thank you, Dave.  I hadn't found that thread when searching - very good pics!  It would be great to see the lamps themselves and how they sit into the apertures that the lids are made to cover.  It doesn't affect my modelling - I'm just curious  :)

 

Mike

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Looks like it's 'Theory 2' again...

I just looked in a copy of the IKB coach building instructions for another reason and noticed that the cover pieces are labelled 'lamp plugs'. It appears that some kit/parts suppliers got it right.

 

Nick

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I recently came across an article entitled "Some Early Great Western Recollections" by C.M.Doncaster in the April 1942 "Railways" magazine, shown on the web at:

http://locoyard.com/2014/01/19/19th-century-gwr-locomotives-courtesy-of-nick-littlewood/

In this article, the author describes the procedure used for lighting the oil lamps in passenger carriages, as follows:

"Before gas and electricity were applied to trains for lighting purposes, much time was wasted in lighting up.  At the station, before dusk approached, trucks carrying lighted lamps were brought alongside the train and a man ran along the roof,  the lamps being handed up to him on a pole with a hook at the end"

 

Mike
 

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